Anthem of the Seas Cruise Cut Short to Avoid Storm

Anthem Of The Seas Cruise Ship

Anthem of the Seas

Royal Caribbean isn’t taking any chances when it comes to weather following its nightmare cruise into a hurricane force storm earlier this month, cutting Anthem of the Seas’ latest voyage short to avoid a storm off the mid-Atlantic seaboard.

The cruise ship giant said Saturday that it was closely watching a “large storm” off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, making the decision to head back to its homeport in Cape Liberty, New Jersey immediately to avoid the storm and provide guests “with a comfortable journey back home”. An update on Monday said Captain was following the company’s new storm avoidance policy and that the decision was made after the Captain consulted with shore side experts.

RCLcorp ‎@RCLcorp

#AnthemoftheSeas will head back to Cape Liberty immediately to avoid a severe storm & provide guests with a comfortable journey back home.

As you’ll recall, Royal Caribbean found itself in some hot water earlier this month after the Anthem of the Seas with more than 6,000 people on board sailed into the a hurricane-force storm off the Cape Hatteras that damaged part of the ship’s propulsion and left passengers shaken as they took to social media to post about the nightmare conditions.

Royal Caribbean has insisted that the storm in that case was worse than forecasted, but nonetheless the company said it identified gaps in its planning system that would be addressed to prevent a similar occurrence in the future. Within days of the event, Royal Caribbean made moves to strengthen its storm avoidance policy, supposedly adding shoreside resources at its Miami headquarters to provide additional guidance to our ships’ captains.

But looking at marine charts from this past Saturday, it seems Royal Caribbean’s decision to cut the latest cruise short may have been out of an abundance of caution or perhaps to avoid the inevitable bad publicity that would come with any Royal Caribbean ship sailing in any storm at the moment.

NWS OPC Saturday Night Forecast
NWS OPC 24 hour forecast issued Saturday night. 

A 24 hour forecast chart issued Saturday night by the National Weather Services Ocean Prediction Center predicted a relatively modest 993 mb low over the Great Lakes moving ENE with gale force conditions forecast off the Mid-Atlantic and New England coast by Sunday evening.

“What Storm? The low moving across the Great Lakes was forecast to produce near gale to gale conditions from Hatteras northward (mostly 30-40 knots). Might be a bit rough but hardly storm conditions,” marine meteorologist and ship routing expert with Ocean Weather Services, Fred Pickhardt, commented to gCaptain.

In other Anthem of the Seas news, Royal Caribbean said Monday that about 10 guests per day were reporting symptoms of norovirus during the cruise, but the company insists that the outbreak didn’t impact the decision to return to port early.

U.S. Coast Guard: Anthem of the Seas Azipod Damaged in Storm

Photo credit: CANARYLUC / Shutterstock.com

Anthem of the Seas

One of two diesel-electric azipod units used to propel Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas sustained damage as the ship battled an intense hurricane-force storm off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina on Sunday.

The storm-damaged cruise ship returned to the Liberty Cruise Terminal in Bayonne, New Jersey on Wednesday evening and as crews continue to test the critical systems onboard the vessel while in port.

Representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard, the Bahamas Maritime Administration, and other organizations have been working closely with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and technical specialists to ensure the ongoing repairs to the ship’s equipment are functioning as designed, the Coast Guard said Friday.

While damage from the storm has been reported as mostly cosmetic, the Coast Guard said Friday that the cruise ship’s port azipod unit, which is one component of the vessel’s propulsion system, burned out all four clutches and as a precaution had to be shut down for ship’s the return voyage to Bayonne.

Technicians aboard the cruise ship are replacing the clutches on both the starboard and port azipods as a precaution. Repairs and subsequent testing of the azipods are still ongoing.

Related Video: The Azipods Used to Power the World’s Largest Cruise Ships

All critical safety and lifesaving systems are also being tested under the supervision of the Bahamas and the U.S. Coast Guard officials to ensure that all equipment is functioning as designed prior to departing on its next voyage, which as of now is still expected for this Saturday.

Minor damage to the ship’s lifeboats is being addressed and thoroughly tested by the lifeboat manufacturer, the Coast Guard says.

“At this time all repairs appear to be on track and all systems tests are progressing satisfactorily,” according to the Coast Guard. “However, if anything is discovered during testing, the Coast Guard Captain of the Port will not allow the ship to sail from Bayonne until both Coast Guard and Bahamas Maritime Authorities are satisfied. The vessel will not be cleared to leave the port until all safety of life at sea requirements are met.”

As gCaptain has reported, the Coast Guard is supporting the Bahamas Maritime Administration in an ongoing investigation that will help determine if there are any contributing causal factors or lessons learned from the incident that could help prevent injuries or damage in the future.

The Royal Caribbean cruise ship Anthem of the Seas departed Bayonne, New Jersey last Saturday carrying 4,500 passengers and 1,600 crew on what was scheduled to be a 7-day roundtrip to the Bahamas. But by Sunday afternoon, the ship had sailed directly into the path of an rapidly-developing storm off Cape Hatteras, with 75 m.p.h winds and waves greater than 30 feet.

Coast Guard officials conducting the investigation are being assisted by personnel from the National Transportation Safety Board, according to the Coast Guard. The ongoing investigation could take some time but should not delay the vessel’s scheduled departure.

Royal Caribbean’s two Quantum-class ships, the Quantum of the Seas and the Anthem of the Seas, are fitted with two 20.5-megawatt ABB Azipod XO2300 propulsion units.